Oil rises and posts weekly gain as Iran tensions support
By Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Friday, posting a weekly gain on lift from lowered expectations that an agreement on Iran's nuclear program will result in a rapid return of more Iranian barrels to the market.
Strong U.S. refined products futures and data showing a lower U.S. drilling rig count also lent support.
Brent May crude LCOc1 rose $1.30 to settle at $57.87 a barrel, finishing above its 50-day moving average of $57.61.
U.S. May crude CLc1 rose 85 cents to settle at $51.64.
After a loss last week, Brent rose 5.3 percent. U.S. crude rose 5.0 percent, its fourth consecutive weekly rise.
"The latest agreement with Iran does not open the floodgates for a significant return of Iranian oil on the market as many had feared," said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy and oil strategy at BNP Paribas.
World powers and Iran announced the interim accord last week. But on Thursday, Iranian leaders said all sanctions on Iran must be lifted on the same day as any final agreement, while the United States maintains sanctions would be lifted gradually.
News this week of unsold Nigerian crude, the biggest jump in U.S. crude oil inventories since 2001 and record Saudi Arabian output in March, limited crude oil's rally. Continued...